For a party that strives to shine the light of Freedom for all of America to see, there sure is a lot of whistling in the dark going on lately. I enjoy the perspective of an outsider (I am not a member of any political party) that, along with the rest of Freedom-loving America, is hoping and depending on the Libertarian Party to come with force this year and strike a hammer blow in the name of The People. As we move closer to the nominating convention the outlook so far has been a mixed bag.
On the one hand, as I engage with more and more Libertarians on a daily basis, I see and hear indications and trends that give me great hope. I am meeting ardent supporters of the cause of Liberty, many willing to give freely of their time and resources to help make it happen. Many recognize, and have come to grips with, the fact that the ways and means of the party prior to today have not been effective. Libertarians have been going about things in the wrong manner for all of the right reasons. Something has to change, and preferably not the last bit.
I also see something else that gives me great hope. At your conventions, intermingled with the now long-graying “old guard,” is a wonderful, natural diversity that includes young faces. I had the privilege of interacting briefly with some of these young people at the recent convention in New Jersey. They were attentive, engaged and excited about the party having a breakout year. They will not be old enough to vote this year but they are the future vanguard of Liberty in a world that will require vigilance. I’m glad they’re on our side.
On the other hand, I also see signs of storm clouds gathering on the horizon. For as much as the people I reference above would wish it were not true, the Libertarian Party has been around for 45 years. Longer than me. And it, too, has it’s own Establishment, even if it is too small to be part of “The Establishment”. And this Establishment ranges in it’s manifestation from longstanding party members to candidates for President, print and media franchises, and what little coverage is offered by the mainstream media.
Though one may have idealistically hoped for better from people that hold Libertarian principles dear, the Libertarian Establishment is behaving just as any other does when it is threatened. It is a combination of fatuous whistling in the dark and defensive activity. This is natural, they see change, and they fear being left behind in the excitement. Despite being perfectly natural, it bugs me personally and frankly worries the shit out of me as in my capacity as a Freedom Fighter.
The People do indeed have a golden opportunity this year. But I see everywhere signs that the Libertarian Establishment completely and utterly misunderstands the nature of that opportunity. Either that, or winning is just not on their radar. They appear determined to continue the same “dignified philosophical” approach to achieving victory. They are counting on walking up to the stage and, by the Power of Greyskull, the American People will see the light. One thing is sure, they do not look as if they are prepared or preparing for what is in store.
By focusing on the candidates and what a contrast the voice of Reason should provide, they are ignoring the tremendous forces of both the parties and the media. Although, not to mention the candidates as well. Yes, all of the seemingly available combinations in the Republican and Democratic camp this year have cracks. Deep ones, in some cases, and we will have to exploit them. But in all cases these are formidable individuals in some way, and in all cases will be supported by party machines and entrenchments the average Libertarian could not begin to imagine. And by default they will have the full support of the mainstream media.
If those that want a return to sanity hope to win the highest office this year, we had better be prepared for what is going to be the fight of our lives. No sea will part, and we will not have the luxury of sliding just anybody in. There is nothing up for grabs in 2016. Anything we want we will have to fight for and take.
If all someone wants is to “move the needle” or “change the dialog” than good luck with that. I won’t waste my time and neither should anyone. Take a look around. Things in this country are bad. My belief is that if a Republican or Democrat is elected, we may not even have a future to argue about. Anyone that agrees should also agree that we don’t have time to dip a toe in. And yet candidates asking to be nominated to run for President have expressed these very goals. And it frightens me.
I am not going to detail the many other indicators of both hope and despair that I have observed in my short time interacting with the Libertarian Party. I will only say to those reading, if you fear for the future as I do and if you yearn for a return to Freedom in a spirit of Justice as I do, now is the time to pay attention – and to get involved.
The Libertarian Party has something this year that no one else has besides the people we’re trying to beat. Forget the voter base – it is not enough to win or anywhere near it. Forget the infrastructure – it pales in comparison to the opposition in a battle waged on the opposition’s terms. Even forget a ticket to the debates – nothing has been promised. But whoever the LP nominee is will be on the ballot in 50 states. And this means that by the strange maths that govern national elections, the LP has the ability to nominate the next President.
Please choose wisely.